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YMCA helps seniors prevent risk factors of falls

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The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy (MEWSA) is warning residents of the risk factors of falls.

Sept. 22 is the 10th National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the YMCA of MEWSA is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition for a day of action.

According to the YMCA, it’s estimated that one out of three Americans age 65 or older will suffer a fall each year, leaving many of these adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life, and actually increases their risk of falling, according to the statement.

In addition, as the population ages, falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

Since falls are preventable, the YMCA is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls, according to the statement.

“As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA is asking older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals to raise awareness and prevent falls in the older adult population,” Paul Casey, vice president of Operations and Branch Development at the YMCA of MEWSA, said in the statement. “Falls are preventable, but many older adults and their families don’t know how to safely get active; the good news is that organizations like the Y can help.”

The Centers for Disease Control suggests basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls, such as beginning an exercise program to improve leg strength and balance, asking a doctor or pharmacist to review  medications and getting annual eye exams.

Make the home safer by removing clutter and tripping hazards, putting railings on all stairs and adding grab bars in the bathrooms and installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.

Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness.

The YMCA of MEWSA offers programs such as Aqua Fit, Arthritis Foundation Programs, Enhance Fitness, yoga, tai chi, Seniorcise and Zumba GOLD.

For more information, visit www.ymcaofmewsa.org/programs/adult/health-wellness or contact Hannah Thomas at the Metuchen YMCA at 732-548-2044, Dean Seda at the Edison YMCA at 732-494-3232 or Susan Chanese at the South Amboy YMCA at 732-553-9622.

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